The Valdosta Daily Times
Lowndes’ football team opened spring practice Wednesday, working in full pads for close to 2 1/2 hours in cool, windy conditions on the practice field outside Martin Stadium.
The practice was the Vikings’ first since being upset in the first round of the Class AAAAAA state playoffs by Marietta last season.
“It feels good to be back in football,” Lowndes head coach Randy McPherson said. “We had a good day but we have a long way to go. We have some good kids and they want to win. I am proud of the way we practiced.”
Like most teams, the majority of Lowndes’ open position battles will be decided in the 10 practices this spring, as every player will get worked into the rotation for evaluation.
“Every kid is going to get a chance to play,” McPherson said.
Lowndes’ spring practice will end with the playing of its annual spring game May 16 inside Martin Stadium.
On day one of practice, McPherson said the defense was “way ahead” of the offense, just because there is a lot an offense must pick up in a short amount of time.
“The defense was way ahead of the offense but that is a good thing,” McPherson said.
The Vikings enter this spring practice with the same question that has surrounded the program the past two seasons: who will play quarterback?
Some of the top candidates to become the Vikings’ starting quarterback are Austin Dixon, the son of defensive coordinator Taz Dixon, and Parker Bonner, the nephew of two-time Harlon Hill winner Dusty Donner.
“We have some good kids back,” McPherson said.
Some of those kids that are back are: junior back Ahman Brown, who is the team’s top returning rusher, linebacker Tre’ Jackson, safety Eric Hart, defensive lineman Brian Bell and wide receiver/cornerback Brandon Roberts.
Plenty of new guys will have to step up, too. McPherson and the Lowndes coaches plan to find out whom those new players will be this spring, based off practices.
“If you practice hard enough, you should know what kids to count on,” McPherson said. “That is what we are trying to do. We are trying to run a little of the offense each day, but we don’t expect it to be polished.”
With the Vikings’ spring practice falling so close to the beginning of summer workouts, McPherson said the work done is critical.
“I think the key is in the spring is to be physical and find out who really wants to hit,” McPherson said.
The Vikings started the 2012 season with a perfect 9-0 record, but lost their final two games of the season — the region finale (and championship) to Camden County and the playoff game to Marietta, which was the first time the Vikings were upset in the first round at home under McPherson.
The Vikings will practice again today, before taking Friday and the weekend off. They will return to practice again Monday, working four times next week and four the next week, which will be capped off with the playing of the spring game.
Lowndes’ crosstown rival Valdosta opens spring practice on Monday.